Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Natural Handcrafted Soap --Essential Oils

For centuries, essential oils and/or using products containing them, such as soaps, have been used as natural “medicines” to provide many therapeutic and psychological benefits. Care is taken to avoid using the oils directly on the skin—because they are very concentrated, they can cause skin irritations. However, there are many ways to enjoy the benefits of these wonderful oils.
Caution: All essential oils are highly concentrated and can irritate the skin. With few exceptions, never take internally and use extreme caution or avoid using essential oils during pregnancy. Always dilute essential oils in carrier oil such as olive oil if using on the skin.

Tea Tree Oil – a natural antibacterial - tea tree oil is very special in that it has antifungal, antiviral, and antiseptic properties. Tea tree oil soap combines shea butter, olive oil and coconut oil to not only gently cleanse away the dirt and germs, but to renew the softness of your skin and add to its suppleness. Among its many benefits, tea tree oil works as an acne treatment, a cleanser for cuts and scrapes, and a treatment or prevention for athlete's foot. Several drops on a cotton ball placed in the home, office or hotel room helps purify the air. This oil has a medicinal scent, but it is not overwhelming. It can be used in little dabs on cold sores and acne as well as athlete’s foot.
 Suggested Australian Tea Tree Soaps

Australian Tea Tree - Leaves
Tea Tree - Cocoa Butter

Patchouli Oil - unforgettable - even if you don't remember the day the Beatles landed in the U.S., flower power or Laugh-In, you'll love (or hate) the warm, musky, heady aroma of patchouli. Earthy, woody and aromatic, this oil is used in soap and lotions to treat everything from dry, cracked skin to acne, stress and frigidity (really, I am not making this up—think of Haight Ashbury and Free Love)! Patchouli is used often in aromatherapy. The dried leaves and stems are used in traditional Chinese medicine to normalize the flow and balance of the life force known as qi (or chi). This oil is said to bring emotions into harmony and create energy. Deeply relaxing, patchouli oil can be blended with jasmine, rose or ylang ylang to create intoxicating massage oil. Be sure to use with carrier oil, such as olive oil (one cup or more to a few drops total of essential oils).

Lemongrass - aka citronella - Lemongrass is a great, natural way to deter mosquitoes and lemongrass soap is a way to treat your skin to its many other benefits. Vermont Botanical Soaps (on eBay) sells a big, chunky, handcrafted bar infused with the finest lemongrass essential oil, olive oil, coconut oil, shea butter and organically-grown fresh lemongrass leaves. This soap imparts antiseptic, antifungal, and antimicrobial benefits and is beneficial in treating insect bites, athlete’s foot, acne, and skin rashes. Place a few drops on a cotton ball and place in the home, office or hotel room to protect against pathogens in recycled air. Lemongrass is a must for campers, and a drop or two will also work wonders in smelly sneakers and sports bags!
Rose Oil – the romantic - there are few aromas as evocative as the rose. Its intoxicating floral essence is used to brighten a mood or to cool and tone the skin. Rose can increase feelings of energy and enhance well-being (a dozen roses never fail to increase my well-being!) Rose oil relieves dryness, inflammation and itching. Rose is also an effective antiseptic, antibacterial and astringent. A very small amount can often be useful in treating headaches—think a drop or two on a cold forehead compress. Used in soaps, candles, sachets and lotions, its fragrance has universal appeal. This oil should not be used in pregnancy.

Lavender Oil – the universal - fresh and sweet, lavender has been used throughout history to relieve anxiety, headaches, stress, and allergies. This heavenly oil can also help heal cuts and soothe bug bites. Used in vaporizers, lavender can help ease colds, coughs and congestion. Lavender is relatively easy to grow in growing Zones 5 and up (I’ve tried growing it in Zone 4 without much luck), and it makes a wonderful addition to baked goods. Just dry, crush and sprinkle into cookie or cake batter. Be sure to use pesticide-free lavender when using in food. Add a few drops to a cotton ball and place in closets and drawers to repel insects and moths. For a nice, natural fragrance in the home, use an eyedropper to apply lavender oil to hot light bulbs—the heat will help the oil to infuse a room with it’s magical aroma. As an alternative to dryer sheets, a few drops on a damp washcloth thrown into the dryer will leave clothes nicely scented. I’ve also used a little under car seats—a nice alternative to traditional car deodorizers.
 Lavender Scent Soaps Lavender Rose Petals
Lavender - Geranium
Palm Wild Lavender Soap
Lavender - Jasmine Soap

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